On why I’m leaving

Quality of Life
Life, as I’ve rediscovered it in Ohio, is sub par. Sure there are nice people, but there is no community and connections are very hard to forge. I seem to find that everyone here is stuck doing the same things that they’ve done for ages, and because of this repetition their souls and intellect have decayed to the point of never wanting to try new things or to open their minds to different perspectives. I think of T.S. Eliot’s theories as I go through my routines and see everyone else doing the same thing they’ve been doing for god knows how long and wonder why people can bear to put up with it all. Also, winter isn’t as romantic as I remember

Cost of living
This is the most frustrating aspect of life in America. I can’t afford to regularly go out for coffee or meals if I ever hope to save any money. I can’t afford to travel to see friends because transportation costs. Luckily, I’ve been able to live rent-free for the time I’ve been here, and I’m grateful for this money-saving scheme. I can’t believe the costs associated with some rather basic products and services and the wages that I receive in this hopeless state. I make eight dollars an hour as a reporter, and then I took the second job delivering pizzas at seven dollars per hour. When you factor in the price of gas and food and other necessities, I can understand why some people simply give up. For one example of the costs here, I paid 200 dollars for a local shop to frame two pictures, and when I brought them home, they weren’t even assembled well and I had to finish the job at home. Another example is tires. I had to pay nearly $320 for tires on the car when they needed replaced. And this brings me to by next point.

Transportation
I cannot believe the costs associated with just getting around in this nation. Couple this with the complete lack of transportation options in this nation, and you end up throwing money into a bottomless hole known as a gas tank. And then there are all the stupid little costs associated with a car as well: expensive insurance (even though I’ve never had an accident and never been charged with speeding), titles, registration and numerous fees that various entities impose in order to finance their overbloated staff and governments.

Friends
A good number of friends lost contact with me when I was gone before, and some barely acknowledge that I’ve returned. Numerous people that I’ve called friends – I love you dearly – but the fire and idealism and passion that once attracted me to you has faded from your eyes and your souls. So many of you seem like empty and passionless shells of the people I knew previously; you accept the status quo without question and believe that this way of meaningless existence is the American Dream; you are unwilling to take bold chances or expand your horizons, and I long for the people I previously knew and loved. I am proof that there is a better way of life available to you overseas, away from this highly-regulated version of what the American government wants you to think is the American Dream and a good life. I strongly advocate that you re-assess your situation and ask yourself if the life you have now is the life that you want forever. And if you change your mind and decide to leave this country for a better life, I will support you totally and completely.

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Go East, Young Man!

Here is my plan in terms of traveling over the next month:

I made this map using paint and got frustrated with it so I just wrote the abbreviations for the cities there. But in case you’re internationally challenged, here’s how the plan goes:

-Columbus to Chicago (the only leg of the journey by bus)
-Chicago to Frankfurt (time to see Hendrik more than a year after he left Long Xuyen)
-Frankfurt –> Barcelona –> Frankfurt (an extended weekend with Hendrik, Biggi, and possibly Lan)
-Frankfurt to Ho Chi Minh City to start a new life in Indochina where I don’t spend all my money on cars.

The story that I heard on NPR yesterday afternoon:

In Vietnam, Press Freedom Stifled

(You can read the transcript or listen to the streaming audio).

And here’s the letter I sent NPR this morning:

I am usually impressed with NPR’s balanced coverage of world news, but I have to notify you of my disappointment with Michael Sullivan’s story concerning press freedom in Vietnam that aired on Wednesday, August 20.

Sullivan has obviously had limited exposure to Vietnamese culture although he is based in the capitol. This is obvious because of his inability to pronounce proper names of Vietnamese people and the most influential newspapers in the nation. Also, the supposed “expert” that Sullivan interviewed for his story is with the Australian Defense Force Academy. How is the Australian military even related to freedom of the press in Vietnam?

Sullivan’s story is typical Western journalism trying to sensationalize a story about a nation and culture that he obviously knows little about and cannot begin to understand. There were no quotes or statements from either “Thanh Nien” or “Tuoi Tre,” and the general tone of the story was slanted negatively against the Vietnamese government.

I request that you not air further stories from Sullivan concerning Vietnam unless he improves his basic journalism skills and is able to file a non-biased and/or balanced report.

I’m starting to get really pissed off at the West’s horribly disdainful and biased coverage of the Olympics in Beijing. This article was in the New York Times this morning, and they could only hold off until the until the fourth paragraph before quoting some people saying that the Chinese team was cheating, despite the Chinese team winning the gold in gymnastics.

Also, the media here are drooling on the fact that the fireworks display for the opening ceremony was faked, and that the little girl singing was actually lip-syncing. I have a phrase for them: “Shut the hell up!” Where were you when the present administration conned most of the populace into an unjustified invasion on false pretenses? Five-and-a-half years ago, the U.S. media was all patriotic and gung-ho for war, patriotism, USA, rah-rah-rah. No serious, probing questions were asked about invading a sovereign nation then, but now, every slight thing that can be questioned, or even better, negatively skewed, about another emerging superpower is being iterated by the U.S. and Western media. The U.S. media needs to stop searching for stupid, unimportant “scandals” involving the Olympics just because they’re in China this year.

So here’s a message to the U.S. in general: This nation is a declining economic and military superpower. China is emerging to be the next superpower (the argument could be made that they already are the next superpower because they’re bought all of the U.S.’s debt). Get over it. This country has been mismanaged to the point of decline.

John McCain is a retarded piece of shit and should not even be running for office. There, I said it.

The McCain campaign has been airing TV ads in Ohio that do their best to equate high gas prices with Barack Obama. Despite the ridiculousness of this idea, I’m sure that the a good number of Ohioans are falling for it hook, line and sinker because the majority of this state hasn’t attended college yet worships the ground on which a college football team walks.

Regardless, I decided that I am much more qualified to run for president than Mr. McCain. Observe the following objective analysis:

-McCain spent about 5.5 years in Vietnam. I spent about 3 years in Vietnam. Compared to our respective ages that’s about 7.6 percent of his life in Vietnam and 12 percent of my life in Vietnam, hence, I have more foreign experience than he. Some people will claim that he was tortured in Vietnam, well, I had to fill out monthly expense reports while I was there which were like torture. Think about this folks: I endured more torture (relatively speaking) in Vietnam than John McCain.

-I did not divorce my first wife because she was disabled in a car wreck.

-I did not call my second wife a cunt in front of reporters.

-I do not make up stupid shit (i.e., I don’t blame my political opponents for higher gas prices).

-I can lift my arms above my head.

-I’ve never had cancer and I don’t have a swollen glad in my left cheek.

-I do not cash my Social Security check every month and hence I do not drain the U.S. economy.

-I am not a Republican.